If Shopbolt gets its wish, the way we do online shopping today will someday become an archaic, goofy quirk of the past. Their new app, which makes the shopping process as easy as shooting off a couple texts or chat messages in a quick conversation (that’s right, no entering credit card info, no researching and reading product reviews for hours, no typing in personal details) promises to change the way consumers think about shopping online.
And frankly, that day couldn’t come soon enough.
Finally, a Company Who Understands the Pain Points of Online Shopping
Confession: I’m a little burned out on the Internet.
Correction: I’m burned out on the old style of the Internet.
While many new wonders have come down the pipe in the last 17 years, many of the ways we do things online haven’t changed since the early 2000s. It’s a little sad for a civilization that is already talking about reversing aging, curing all diseases, and sending people to Mars.
Shopping is a clear example. The usual cycle of online shopping goes something like this:
- go online to the one (maybe two) sites you always visit to shop, not because they’re necessarily the best, but because it’s time-consuming clicking around for new, maybe better options
- conduct enough product/brand/price research to write a dissertation for a doctoral thesis
- put the item in the cart
- look for the tiny little shopping cart icon in one of the corners of the screen to open your e-cart and review your items
- go to checkout
- enter the vast dossier of personal information required for checkout: name, phone number, email address, credit card number, expiration date, billing address, shipping address, your childhood address, the special three-digit security code on the back of the card, secret handshake (digitized), social security number, date of birth, height, weight, age, exact longitude and latitude at time of purchase, blood type, scanned image of the inked footprint on your birth certificate, and six personal references
Sure, I’m exaggerating a little with the second point about writing a dissertation, but my point stands: online shopping can be tiring.
One more thing: no matter how many security measures a site provides, it always makes the stomach turn a little when you type in your credit card details, pray to the gods of I.D. Theft that your number doesn’t get punched this time around, and then–with index finger trembling–click “Submit” as you shoot all of your sensitive financial data into the unfathomable darkness of cyberspace.
Started in 2015 and developed under the Sears brand, the company saw the pain points of online shopping and wanted to be the hero who saves the day.
They started by creating an extremely easy-to-use personalized shopping assistant service, and they had a simple goal: “to save customers the time and effort that goes into researching a product before any purchase, especially for those who procrastinate in making a purchase (i.e. you’re late buying a gift for someone special or you’re shopping for a new TV and overwhelmed by the number of choices),” as the company explained to TechDigg.
Their innovative service can now be accessed through their new app, currently available for iOS and Android. The app took the company about five months to develop, and it’s beginning to make waves.
What’s even more amazing: their shopping service is free, and, as the company confirmed to TechDigg, the service will always be free.
They’re very serious about changing online shopping on a fundamental level, in other words.
As a company representative told TechDigg, “Shopbolt wants to revolutionize [the process] by outsourcing shopping and giving you your time back so that you can spend it on things you love.”
How the Shopbolt App Works
The app’s “shopping-as-easy-as-chat” service is insanely simple and quick to use, which is what makes it so attractive:
- Once you download the app, it guides you through account set-up (with gorgeous, minimalistic UX, I might add).
- You add your shipping address and credit card info, which may very well be the last time you ever have to do that, assuming you use the app for all future shopping tasks.
- You click “Make a Request” on the app’s home screen.
- A chat box opens up, and you tell the personal shopping assistant, which (currently) is a live human being and expert shopper, what kind of item you want to buy.
- Shopbolt does all the research for you, searching all brands and retailers.
- They compare prices, shipping options, and acquire any coupons available for the product.
- Once you confirm your approval of what they find, Shopbolt securely orders the item without ever sharing your credit card data with the retailer.
- They make the shipping arrangements.
- The app saves all receipts and conversations.
- The orders appear on your banking statement as a Shopbolt purchase, which, again, means you never have to send your card information over the Internet to retailers again.
I love the “conversation sample” they provide on their site:
Shopper: “I want to buy a pair of the latest Nike Flyknit Lunars.”
Shopbolt: “Sure thing. Do you know your size? Any color preference?”
Shopper: “Size 10. Whatever’s cheapest.”
Shopbolt: “After comparing retailers and applying coupons, we found a pair for $89.99 with free shipping (40% off retail).” [Shopbolt then provides an image of what they found.]
Shopper: “Perfect, ship it to my office.”
Shopbolt: “Great, your order should arrive in two days. We’ll email you tracking.”
And that’s it. A six-line online chat conversation completes a shopping process that would take much longer and be more expensive.
Shopbolt’s (and the Internet’s) Promising Future
To sum it up: Shopbolt is perfect “for those would like to save time and effort but still get quality research on products they want at the best possible price,” according to a Shopbolt rep.
And, after you see how seamless and fast the service is, it’s easy to believe their claims.
You can even use the shopping service outside of their mobile app. Their “conversational commerce,” as the term is coined, is available to use via email through their website ShopboltNow.com or through texting (312)883-8784.
The bottom-line: Shopbolt’s new app and shopping service gives me hope that we might finally upgrade the old, clunky pipes of the Internet, especially online shopping, and make it work better.